This story was edited by my friend, 'Chantal' who always makes it a much better read. Hope you enjoy it and 'Happy Holidays'.
I live in a medium-size town in the Midwest. I served four years in the army. When I got out, I went to college for two years and received my Associate Degree in Criminal Law. There weren't many jobs available, but I was able to land a job in security at the mall.
There was a lot of turnover in my profession, but I decided to stay with it and I became head of security in two years. I was happy, made a decent wage and was back home with my family and friends. Life was pretty good.
Ray Binning, the mall owner was also a veteran and gave me the job. I was to oversee twelve other people that worked security. We had both men and women; some wore uniforms and others dressed in street clothes. Ray came up to me the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and asked for a favor.
"Jeff, I need a big favor. The man we hired for Santa didn't pass the background check and I was hoping you would do the job for a week. We have some more applicants but I won't be able to get the background checks and paperwork done on them till next week because of the holiday," said Ray. He was speaking of Thanksgiving.
"Let me get this right. You want me to be the mall Santa until next week. Ray, I'm not exactly the Santa type person. I'm 6' 1" and weight 185 pounds."
"We have a costume that we can pad-up for you. My problem is I need to get through Black Friday and I need someone I trust. Needless to say I'll pay you extra, and can really use your help."
I had to laugh, but Ray was a good boss and he gave me a job when I needed it. I told him I would do this favor for him, but hoped he would hurry up and find another Santa. He promised me that he would hire a replacement by Wednesday of the following week.
I had just turned twenty-seven and moved back in with my parents after returning from Iraq. I went to school full time thanks to my military service. I took the two-year degree format option so I could get a job and support myself. I was in the military police while in the service, so taking Criminal Justice worked out good for me.
I have three older sisters who are all married and have kids so I know what it's like to be around children. As a whole, I like kids, but I want them to be well behaved. I knew my sisters would get a big laugh out of me being Santa. We would all be getting together on Thanksgiving and I would tell them the news.
My sisters have been trying to fix me up with dates ever since I returned from overseas. I know I'm a decent looking guy, and I work out almost every day at the gym located in the mall. It's just that I'm not ready to settle down; I haven't found the right woman.
My oldest sister, Donna, asked me what I was looking for in a woman. I told her I wasn't looking; if it were to happen, it would happen. My other sisters, Kim and Cindy, tell me that I would be a good catch, and whenever they invite me over for dinner or a party, there is always an extra woman there; as if I can't figure out what my sisters are doing.
I know they mean well and are looking out for their little brother, but I'm not little or young anymore. I have gone on quite a few dates, and actually have had sex with most of them, but I haven't felt the love in any relationships.
It's funny how my sisters see other women, and many times have told me the women were too easy. I told them I liked easy when it came to dating. They would yell at me, and I would laugh. You would think I had four mothers the way they watched over me.
On Thanksgiving, I told the family that I was going to be the mall Santa for a week, and everyone laughed. I tried to explain that it was a favor for Ray. We had to watch what we said, because a few of my nieces and nephews still believed in Santa, and we didn't want to ruin it for them. My sisters did say they were going to bring their kids by to see me at the mall.
I showed up for Black Friday not knowing what to expect. All my security personnel would be working extra hours until after Christmas. They did laugh when they found out I was playing Santa for a few days.
I have to admit that I wasn't ready for the onslaught of kids that appeared on the first day. We had a little Christmas village set up, and I had my own booth where the kids could come and sit next to me. It wasn't possible for the kids to sit on Santa's lap anymore. Just too many perverts out there.
We gave every kid a candy cane, and he or she could have their picture taken with me if they wanted. We charged three dollars for the picture, which I thought was reasonable. Thank God, I had two elves to help me. They controlled the line of kids that seemed never ending.
I have to say something about the kids. Some were as sweet as could be, and hardly asked for anything for Christmas. Then, there were the other kids that were nothing but brats. If I was a real Santa, they would have only gotten that lump of coal my parents said I would get if I was bad when I was younger.
The list of gifts sure changed. Almost everyone asked for electronic items. I believe most kids wanted their own phone. Some of the kids seemed so sweet; I really hoped they would get some of the things they asked for. I'd tell the kids that seemed bratty; they would have to be nicer if I was to come to their house. They'd usually mouth off to me. They'd say things like "I know you're not the real Santa and my Mom will get me whatever I want."
They were probably right, and their parents would buy them what they want instead of spending time with them and teaching them right from wrong.
My nieces and nephews all came by at different times. I could see my sisters laughing at me from a distance. The older ones said, "I know it's you Uncle Jeff. It's nice to know that you're helping Santa this year." The younger ones didn't know it was me. I have to admit it was fun talking with them.
I was really happy when the first day was over. I have to admit I was worn out. I can't tell you how many hundreds of kids came by to see Santa. Ray came by, thanked me and bought me dinner. I didn't get to eat until nine o'clock in the evening.
We set up hours that Santa would be in from ten in the morning until seven in the evening. It was almost eight when I saw the last kid the first night. I only took a fifteen minute lunch break since it was so busy, and I wasn't about to shut down the line on the kids that had waited to see me.
On Saturday, it was a lot more manageable. We learned from our mistakes the first day, and there were fewer kids, but you would hardly know it looking at the line.
It was mid-afternoon when a little curly red-haired girl came up and sat down next to me. She probably was around five years old, and as cute as a button. I felt like I knew her, but couldn't figure out why. I would surely remember a little girl who was this cute and so very pleasant.
"Hi Santa, I'm Jessica but you probably already know that." She was so sweet.
" ... and what would you like for Christmas, Jessica?" I asked.
"I would like a daddy for Christmas," she said calmly.
I was stunned. What was I supposed to say to a little girl like this? Oh my God! Now I realized why she looked so familiar. She looked just like my best friend, Sharon, from grade school.
I need to tell you the story about Sharon and me:
The Buckley's were our next-door neighbors when I was a kid. Sharon and I hung around together all the time. We started kindergarten and went through a lot of grade school together. We played and our families even took vacations together. She was my all-time best friend.
I never thought of her as a girl, but as my buddy. We fought now and then, but always got over it. Usually we always did boy stuff but every now and then, she wanted to play house or act like a girl. I usually went along with her because she was my best friend. She said she wanted to be a nurse when she got older.
One time we were at my house and she said we were getting married. I remember telling her as long as we didn't do the yucky stuff like kissing. My mom laughed and asked us, "Are you going to have children?"
Sharon said we were going to have two kids. I looked at her and said we were going to have three; I had to one-up her. She responded with, "Ok, you have three and I'll have two." That's the way it was with Sharon and me; we were always able to work things out.
When we were eleven, Sharon came over and said they were moving to the suburbs. Her Dad got a promotion, and they would be moving before school started back up.
I was devastated; my best friend was moving away. I remember the day they left. I hugged Sharon and we both cried. My Dad told me men don't cry, and I ran in the house. My Mom felt sorry for me and said maybe someday we could visit the Buckley's, but it never happened.
Life for me after that day seemed different. I can't put a finger on it, but it was as if I had lost the only person that I cared for. My sisters told me to get over it; they didn't understand. My parents told me to stop mopping around, that I would have other friends.
They were right, but I never felt that close to any other girls. I dated in high school, but never had that same feeling towards anyone. I guess I just wouldn't let them get that close; at least into my heart.
I enlisted in the army and spent most of my time overseas. I spent two tours in the war zones and became a MP, military police. I thought it would prepare me for a job after getting out of the service.
.... There is more of this story ...